Security cameras will be installed at the exterior doorways of all undergraduate residential college buildings and dorms, according to a memo sent Wednesday by Princeton administrators to all students, staff, and faculty.
The cameras will be added starting this month, and all cameras should be online by the start of the fall semester. Security measures at graduate residential housing are also being reviewed, with the memo stating that “several needs identified in the fall are in the process of being or have already been resolved.”
The Environmental Safety and Risk Management (ESRM) committee approved the security expansion; an ESRM working group will also review exterior lighting.
The administrators’ memo states that while “campus crime rates are low,” these upgrades will benefit the campus community.
The University also published answers to FAQs about the changes that clarified that the cameras will not be actively monitored in general, though that can change when “safety or security concerns, event monitoring, ongoing investigations, alarms, or other situations warrant such monitoring.”
Footage will “generally be retained” for up to 90 days, though that period may be extended in certain cases. Requests to view footage will go through the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Audio will not be recorded.
The cameras will not use facial recognition tools and will automatically deploy face blurring technology “to ensure that only authorized investigators may view faces in security camera recordings.”
The memo was sent by Rochelle Calhoun, vice president for campus life; Jill Dolan, dean of the college; Gene Jarrett, dean of the faculty; Rod Priestley, dean of the graduate school; and Romy Riddick, vice president for human resources.
The University also updated the Security Camera and Recording Retention Policy, which states that “the primary purpose of utilizing security cameras is to enhance the safety and security of members of the University community and University property while preserving individual privacy and freedom of expression.”
Following the disappearance and death of Misrach Ewunetie ’24 last fall, Dolan, Calhoun, Priestley, Jarrett, and Riddick wrote in a Nov. 1 email to the campus community that changes to security protocols, particularly for residential colleges, were in the works “to further respond to concerns recently raised by students and staff.”
According to The Daily Princetonian, in a feedback session later that month, DPS staff listened to students’ apprehensions, particularly around potential privacy violations and punishments for nonviolent offenders. The Prince also reported that about 36% of the 220 students who responded to a feedback form did not want to see cameras on campus.